Joe Biden briefly lost his footing as he disembarked from Air Force One on Tuesday, hours after Axios reported that the White House is scrambling to prevent the president from falling before the 2024 election.
Biden used Air Force One's smaller stairs to board and deplane for a visit to a United Auto Workers picket line in Michigan. According to Axios, the president is increasingly using the small stairs as part a White House strategy that the news site dubbed the "don't-let-him-trip mission."
The plan also reportedly involves Biden working with a physical therapist to improve his balance and wearing tennis shoes more often to avoid slipping.
"Democrats, including some in the administration, are terrified Biden will have a bad fall—with a nightmare scenario of it happening in the weeks before the 2024 election," per Axios. "Biden's team is betting that any mockery he receives over using the shorter Air Force One steps and wearing tennis shoes will be worth it to avoid another public stumble."
White House spokesman Andrew Bates acknowledged what Axios called the "urgent project to protect [Biden's] reelection bid," even as he objected to the report.
"This isn't new—it was proactively and transparently disclosed," Bates said. "This article fits an unfortunate pattern of media attempting to sensationalize something that has long been public, rather than covering the president's very real achievements for hardworking Americans."
Biden, the oldest-ever serving U.S. president, turns 81 in less than two months. He has repeatedly tripped in public, including, mostly dramatically on stage at the Air Force's graduation in June.
NBC News reported in July that Biden's team uses a variety of "age-compensating measures," including greater use of the shorter stairs on Air Force One, skipping traditional nighttime socializing with fellow world leaders on foreign trips, and relying on "extra-large font on his teleprompter and note cards to remind him of the points he wants to make in meetings."
Published under: Joe Biden